The Rhetoric of Papal Imperium: Raphael, Leo X, and the Authority of Rome in the "Allocution of Constantine"
This project will explicate how the Sala di Constantino particularly demonstrates the depth of Raphael's profound engagement with Roman humanism and urbanism in his late career at the court of his patron, Pope Leo X. This examination will uncover how the east wall, and the Allocution of Constantine in particular, reflects Raphael's artistic invenzione and ability to craft sophisticated humanist imagery that communicated Leo X's papal authority to an audience of powerful intellectuals. Responding to challenges by reformers, Raphael employed classical rhetoric, Roman architecture, and contemporary ideology to underscore themes of ecclesiastical lineage and draw deeper association between Leo X and his predecessor, the Roman Emperor Constantine. By cultivating the inheritance of imperial authority through referencing romanitas and spolia, Constantine's own practice of architectural reuse, the Allocution of Constantine affirms Leo X's supremacy over Christendom.